Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) president Charles Milupi says Zambians should not expect to be rescued from the looming economic crisis because the PF government’s interest is in making corrupt deals for personal gain.
And Milupi says the PF deliberately increased the prices of petroleum products so that they can accrue revenues from the increment.
Reacting to the continued high public expenditure amidst the ongoing austerity measures, Milupi charged that government would continue spending resources recklessly irrespective of the looming economic crisis because it was in their DNA to be corrupt.
Among the key expenditures has been government’s fuel procurement, which included a controversial US $20 million Saudi oil deal, that Energy Minister Mathew Nkhuwa dismissed earlier this month as just a “drop in the ocean” in effecting downward fuel pump prices for Zambian consumers.
“This government does not keep their eye on the economy. They have gone on their usual way on managing the economy in a careless manner that they are doing. Remember, they started these very expensive projects. Whether it is fire tenders, ambulances. And you know, if they were reasonable, they would have been forced to be careful in the way they are spending. But you know these people. And if you look at fuel expenditure, the government had said we were going to take austerity measures to ensure we reduce on unnecessary expenditure. But the President said no! ‘We shall continue undertaking trips,’ so he has been all over the world whether it’s New York, Kampala, and so he continues to travel around the world,” Milupi told News Diggers! in an interview in Lusaka.
“They are unable to stick to measures that can help to improve this economy. So, Zambians are own their own; don’t expect government to take the austerity measures seriously. Their DNA is to continue spending because it’s from spending that you will have an opportunity to have money, to make money under the table by way of corruption. If you don’t spend, nobody will corrupt you. Those that want your money go to those that have the ability to spend. Those that have authority to authorise spending are the ones who are corrupt. You, as a reporter, because you cannot authorise anything, no one can come and bribe you. But if you are a Minister in government, if you are a President in government, they will come. And the problem with this government is that, they have a huge appetite for corruption! And that is why they cannot stop spending because it’s in spending that they make these corrupt activities and make money under the table.”
And Milupi added that the PF deliberately increased the prices of petroleum products so that they can accrue revenues from the increment.
“Despite the fact that we have a fiscal deficit of about 35 per cent, they will continue to spend recklessly! The President will continue to travel. So, don’t expect this government to take measures to cushion the economy from becoming a crisis, they won’t do that. And now you see that 35 per cent deficit was supposed to be funded by external loans, we will not get external loans because IMF have clamped their foot down; we’re supposed to be assisted by donor funds, now donor funds will not come because of their carelessness where they have abused the money, especially in the Ministry of Education. So, because that gap will not be filled from loans, from donor funds, they will not send donor funds any time soon. And the government has now increased fuel deliberately so that they can collect revenues from there,” charged Milupi.
“Otherwise, why is it that we are the most expensive in petroleum products in Zambia compared to other sub-Saharan countries? It’s deliberate and it’s because they want more money. It has nothing to do with the increase of petroleum [prices] on the international market. They have realised that they need to raise money and one of the ways they can raise money is by increasing fuel. Why do other countries, the majority of them have cheaper fuel than ourselves? What have they done to grow the GDP? GDP growth has gone down during their tenure than during any other tenure. The current GDP growth is even below the inflation rate and population growth. So, this government has plans. They have the short-term plan, which is corruption and the long-term plan is spending. This increase of fuel and commodities is their fault.”